Subtle spicy Ethiopian meals at Queen Makeda

Monica Cheru-Mpambawashe Lifestyle Editor
Finding a place to have a meal can become a challenge. You have probably been to your favourite restaurant so often that you no longer need the menu and can order and work out your bill to the last dollar.

That might mean that even your palate is beginning to protest that it is time for a change.

Good news is there is something different in town. An Ethiopian restaurant has opened at 3 Lanark Road, Belgravia. Queen Makeda named after the biblical Queen Sheba who visited the wise King Solomon, offers a wide range of the subtly spiced Ethiopian dishes which are popular the world over.

After hearing word from a colleague, I made my way to the restaurant for lunch.

Wanting a taste of everything I got a platter with all sorts of vegetables and meats.

The food came covered in colourful baskets which look much like Mexican hats.

Everything is served with Injera which are flat lightweight dough rolls. After hearing that the Ethiopians use their hands, I decided to do the same.

I especially loved the lamb and chicken stews. Ethiopian stews are slow cooked so the flavour penetrates right into the core of the meat.

There was also a beef rump that appeared to be a stir fry with a difference. The spices which come direct from Ethiopia are all rather mild.

They can also be served with a home made creamy cheese strained into crumbs to further dampen their bite if one chooses.

The various vegetable dishes are good enough to make a meal in themselves. The Ethiopians go on a meat fast for 55 days before their Easter which is set according to the Coptic calendar so they have really put their hearts into their vegetarian dishes.

The Atiklit brings to mind the French ratatouille although the Ethiopians do the vegetable stew with cabbage, carrots, potatoes, onions and papers.

Queen Makeda opens daily for lunch and dinner till late.

But Sunday is the best day to go as it is full buffet and one gets to taste all the dishes and eat as much as they want. Sunday is also great because you get to watch the tea ceremony, an elaborate Ethiopian tradition of note.

Coffee beans are roasted, ground then brewed all in front of the guests. The coffee is served with traditional snacks like roasted barley and traditional Ethiopian bread which is much like some versions of our own “chimodho”.

There is a play area for children in addition to the inside and outside seating.

Expect to spend between $7 and $25 per head.

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Subtle spicy Ethiopian meals at Queen Makeda

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